What do Labradoodles, Mother’s Day, and emoticons have in common?
Their creators rue the day they thought them up.
In the 1980s, Wally Conron, the puppy-breeding manager for the Royal Guide Dog Association of Australia, was tasked with creating a non-shedding guide dog for a blind woman whose husband was allergic to dogs.
The result was a cross between a Golden Labrador Retriever and a Standard Poodle called a Labradoodle, now the most sought-after hybrid dog in the world. You’d think Conron would be happy, right? Wrong.
Everyone’s now now trying to create their own hybrid breeds: Goldendoodles (Golden Retriever/Poodle), Schnoodles (Miniature Schnauzer/Poodle), Cavoodless (Cavalier King Charles Spaniel/Poodle), Roodles (Rottweiller/Poodle), Yorkiepoos (Yorkshire Terrier/Poodle), Shihpoos (Shih Tzu/Poodle) …
The result, according to Psychology Today? The poodle crosses suffer various ailments: Problems with their eyes, hips, elbows, even epilepsy.
“I opened a Pandora’s box, that’s what I did,” Conron told Psychology Today.
“So many people are just breeding for the money. So many of these dogs have physical problems and a lot of them are just crazy.”
From life-affirming mischief makers to actual life-saving heroes, these are the breeds we have declared the most loyal, most fun, kindest, cutest and Best Dogs in the World.
When one of his advertising clients, a major car company, freaked out after their ad appeared on a page celebrating … well, a certain kind of sex we can’t mention here, Ethan Zuckerman came up with a way to get ads in front of the eyeballs of consumers without seeming to be associated with the content on the page.
Thus, he wrote in an essay for The Atlantic, “We ended up creating one of the most hated tools in the advertiser’s toolkit: The pop-up ad. I’m sorry. Our intentions were good.”
Ergh. How annoying are pop-ups? Very.
Some of them may contain computer code that, when pressed, executes nefarious software that may attack your computer. You may feel like your password is safe because it uses letters, numbers, and an ampersand, but don’t be so sure.
To her dying day, Anna Jarvis couldn’t stand Mother’s Day.
It had nothing to do with her feelings for her mother, whom she adored.
After all, that’s why she came up with the idea of having a day devoted to mothers everywhere.
Jarvis was even excited when the first day was celebrated on May 10, 1908.
She didn’t attend the first event, held in the Grafton, West Virginia church where her mother taught Sunday School. But she did send 500 white carnations in her honour.
What turned her off was how quickly the day became commercialised.
Mental Floss says she was so put off that she dubbed the florist, greeting card and confectionery industries “charlatans, bandits, pirates, racketeers, kidnappers and termites that would undermine with their greed one of the finest, noblest and truest movements and celebrations.”
Imagine what she thinks of Valentine’s Day.
It seems everyone has a Keurig coffee maker, right?
“I don’t have one,” John Sylvan told The Atlantic.
“They’re kind of expensive to use. Plus it’s not like drip coffee is tough to make.”
You’d think that Sylvan would have all the money and time in the world.
After all, he’s the guy who invented the Keurig K-Cups, those ubiquitous single-serve plastic coffee pods.
But what really puts him off his creation is that the pods aren’t easily recyclable or biodegradable, so there are literally tonnes filling up landfills.
“I feel bad sometimes that I ever did it,” he admits. But, lo! Good news for Mr. Sylvan: Keurig now offers varieties of pods that are recyclable.
Furthermore, by 2020, 100% of Keurig K-cups will be recyclable, says a company spokesman.
There are many ways of brewing coffee. You can make consistently good coffee whichever method you choose if you observe the following rules.
During World War II, Russian firepower could not keep up with that of Germany’s. So Mikhail Kalashnikov, who served in a tank unit during the beginning of the war and had already invented improvements for tanks, set about building a rifle to compete against the Nazis.
His automatic weapon proved durable, lightweight and extremely popular. Too popular, as far as he was concerned, as it became a favourite of terrorists and warlords the world over. He told The Guardian, “I would prefer to have invented a machine that people could use and that would help farmers with their work – for example a lawn mower.”
Emoticons, emojis, “stickers” … that’s how many of us communicate with the outside world. Why use words when we can use cute pictures? Who would have a problem with that?
Scott Fahlman, that’s who.
The computer science professor created emoticons as joke markers to let someone know the email or text sender is kidding. But things have changed.
“Sometimes I feel like Dr. Frankenstein,” he complained to the Wall Street Journal. “My creature started as benign but it’s gone places I don’t approve of.”
Einstein’s famous equation E=mc2 was the roadmap scientists needed to build the atomic bomb. And, assuming that the Nazis were well on their way to building their own A-Bomb, he was glad to help, even writing a letter to President Franklin Roosevelt in 1939 urging him to pursue the bomb.
But the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki horrified Einstein. In 1947, he lamented to Newsweek that if he had “known that the Germans would not succeed in developing an atomic bomb, I would have done nothing.”
To delve deeper, check out these 12 crazy-sounding conspiracy theories that turned out to be spot on.
Sign up here to get Reader’s Digest’s favourite stories straight to your inbox!